Our latest edition of Urban Update is out! Read about the Muslim Youth Fellowship project and our statement on School Resource Officers program: UARR 2018 Spring Newsletter
As reported in the media, the Progressive Conservative potential candidate for Mississauga Centre, Tanya Granic Allen has made some inflammatory comments spreading homophobia and Islamophobia.
April 11 is known as The Day of Pink which is the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny across the world. On this day let’s send the right message to our communities and make sure our province does not have representatives who work against Canada’s values of diversity and inclusion.
Jan 31th, 2018
We would like to commend the Toronto District School Board for the bold actions outlined in the Directors Response to the Enhancing Equity Taskforce Report – we believe this may start to move us in the right direction.
- The recognition of systemic racism in the education system is important, and allows those who have been left behind to feel included in the solution.
- The elimination of streaming is a long overdue action, and we congratulate the Board in identifying and taking leadership to stop this practice.
- Providing human rights and anti-oppression training to all staff is incredibly important to allow teachers to gain the valuable training and understandings that will help them serve students better.
- We also welcome increased parent and student voice and in reviewing the allocation of resources, to ensure equitable access to help those in most need.
- We appreciate the recognition, that opportunity must be provided on an equal basis, and that those who lack access to wealth must be treated with the same dignity provided to those in wealthier areas.
- Programs that assist students increase their success no matter where they are delivered must be continued, but additional supports to those lacking in resources should also be provided greater commitment.
- Including Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Human Rights and Indigenous Educational lenses is crucial to create an educational environment and gives respect to everyone from different histories.
- The review of policies, and system re-allocation of resources, as well as a focus on hiring practices is all critical.
- We also appreciate the strategy for Black Student Achievement and Excellence given the historic and current disparities that exist. We believe that finding solutions that continue to affect Black students will allow us to support all children more successfully. We hope that a similar focus on Indigenous students will also occur given the intergenerational realities that exist and we understand though, that Indigenous issues will not happen in an Equity report.
We were disappointed that the recommendation to establish a Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement within the TDSB, focused upon research and generating solutions and support for Black students and their families, was not included in the Task Force Report. Given the Report’s limited attention to Anti-Black Racism, which is clearly a significant problem in the school system, we hope that you will consider incorporating the creation of this Centre into your recommendations.
Additionally, we hope that the Ministry of Education and the Anti-Racism directorate support the TDSB to get the supports needed and ensure this plan’s implementation and success.
These measures are all needed, however, we must not just write policies, but act upon them with dedication and true commitment and we look forward to working with the Board in making them a reality.
Nigel Barriffe, President – Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Nour Alideeb, Chairperson/ Président Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario/ Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants – Ontario
Yolanda McLean, President Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Warren Salmon, President Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, UARR Board Members Malika Mendez and Ainsworth Spence made the following presentation to the Toronto District School Board regarding the School Resource Officer program.
To the Chair and Trustees of the TDSB:
UARR supports the dissolution of the SRO program. Let us explain why.
One, by quoting from respected sources; two, by examining the genesis of the SRO program; and three, by elaborating on some of the impacts.
Two quotes from the 2008 Review of the Roots of Violence Report presented by Justice Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling are extremely telling. They state that they “were taken aback by the extent to which racism is alive and well and wreaking its deeply harmful effects on Ontarians,” and that they believed “that well-trained and properly paid youth workers can play critical roles in bridging youth, schools and communities.”
In their well-researched and thoughtful analysis, they did not advocate for police officers in schools because they identified “a wide consensus in the community that the safe schools provisions have had a disproportionate impact on racialized students.”
On our next point re: the SRO program. This program began in the US in the early ’50’s at a time when racism was rife and the KKK flourished. It was enforced in many schools located in districts that were classified as poor and where a large percentage of children came from Black households. It was developed in response to the perception that these communities had a greater number of “delinquent” children.
In this program the word “resource” stands out. A resource is a source of support or supply. A police officer’s first duty is to enforce the law. A police officer is not a source of support like a social worker or a guidance counsellor, and should not be expected to provide these services. It is not the role of an SRO to deal with the myriad of issues that racialized and marginalized youth face. That is the work of trained and skilled professionals. The SRO program is a stop-gap substitute. What these youth need are more social workers and more guidance counsellors. Not criminalization.
In regards to some impacts on youth, put yourself in the place of a young child whose family has emigrated from a conflict zone or a war-torn country. Imagine the fear and confusion this child experiences when they are confronted by a uniformed SRO. For many children this conjures the images of violence and fear they encountered in their home country. Add to this the element of opposing cultures, language barriers, religious beliefs, appearance, etc., and we have a situation ripe for misinterpretation. The result is criminalization of black and racialized youth.
Poor, marginalized, or racialized youth are more likely to be labeled disruptive and their behaviour criminalized , while their peers are more often diagnosed with physiological or mental health issues which are treated. A child with a few suspensions often ends up as being “known” to police. This further stigmatizes him or her. Societal perceptions about Black and racialized groups categorize, stigmatize, and ostracize them.
In conclusion, UARR strongly urges TDSB Trustees to dissolve this program. We urge Trustees to direct resources to providing more social workers, guidance counsellors, and anti-racism training for its staff so that students from Black and racialized communities can realize and share their full potential.
Malika Mendez and Ainsworth Spence
For Immediate Release
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) and Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change (COP-COC)
Call to ban racist game “Dirty Chinese Restaurant”
October 2, 2017 / Toronto – The Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), together with Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC), strongly condemns the mobile game “Dirty Chinese Restaurant” for its racist stereotypes. We urge Apple and Google to refuse to carry the game on their mobile platforms, and call on the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and the Ontario Human Rights Commission to sanction the game developer so that no one profits from perpetuating racism.
Chinese restaurants play an important part of the migration history of Chinese in Canada. First generation immigrants experienced considerable hardship, discrimination and racial prejudice when they ran these businesses to support themselves and their families, and to survive in a new country where there were few other economic opportunities that were open to them. The game mocks these real experiences of exclusion and abuse by portraying them in various spiteful scenarios. It includes plots such as dodging immigration officials, in an utterly disrespectful portrayal of the painful history of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax. It is hurtful to many members of the community who still face overt racism and microaggression on an everyday basis because of historic and ongoing systemic exclusion. Chinese in Canada continue to experience many forms of discrimination and racism in employment, education and in many aspects of their daily lives. The game developer claims that ‘being politically correct is boring’, but in fact is using bigotry to make a profit from the very real pain and suffering of Chinese Canadians.
CCNCTO and COP-COC urge the game developer, Big-O-Tree Games to incorporate an anti-racist policy in its business practice, as many private sector coporations have done, to bring positive influence to the public through video games and rather than perpetuating racism that will hurt not only the Chinese Canadian community but also other racialized and immigrant communities.
The Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO) is an organization of Chinese Canadians in the City of Toronto that promotes equity, social justice, inclusive civic participation, and respect for diversity.
COP-COC is a province-wide initiative made up of individuals, groups and organizations working to build community-based capacity to address the growing racialization of poverty – for both First Peoples and peoples of colour – and the resulting increased levels of social exclusion and marginalization of racialized communities across Ontario.
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
Canadian Arab Federation
Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
Urban Alliance on Race Relations
For more information, please contact:
Interim Executive Director
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
Tel: 416.596.0833 (ext. 1)
Senior Coordinator Policy & Communications, OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Tel: 416-524- 4950 (cell)